The U.S. dollar has been on a roll since talk of the Federal Reserve unwinding its aggressive monetary stimulus program gathered pace about a fortnight ago. Now, Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke could give the dollar bulls reason to pause, say strategists.
Bernanke testifies to Congress later on Wednesday amid speculation that he could shed some light on the timing of when the Fed will start phasing out the quantitative easing (QE) that has weighed on the greenback in recent years.
Speculation about monetary stimulus being phased out sooner rather than later lifted the dollar index, a measure of the dollar's value against other major currencies, to 84.37 on Friday – its highest level since July 2010.
"I wouldn't expect a big change from Bernanke's speech, so markets will be disappointed as over the last two weeks there has been a lot of discussion about the phasing out of QE and the dollar has rallied right across the board," said Gareth Berry, a currency strategist at UBS Investment Bank.
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"For that reason, I think we could see the dollar retreat over the next 24 hours. We're still bullish on the U.S. dollar longer-term we just think the market has gotten ahead of itself for now," Berry said on CNBC Asia's "Squawk Box."
The dollar index was trading at 83.77 on Wednesday, not too far off those recent highs and is up 2.4 percent so far this month. The dollar has seen strong gains against major currencies this month, hitting four-and-a-half year highs against the yen and an 11-month peak versus the Aussie dollar.
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While markets have started speculating that the Fed could start to gradually phase out its $85 billion monthly bond-buying program, analysts say Bernanke is likely to maintain a dovish tone when he testifies to Congress later in the day.